A CIO writes (sort of): I’m terrified of cloud lock-in

A CIO writes (sort of): I’m terrified of cloud lock-in

A CIO writes (sort of): I’m terrified of cloud lock-in

I’m in a three-year relationship which I don’t think I can get out of. It started off great, but now I’m getting bled dry and I don’t have the freedom I thought I would have. What should I do?

Some of you will be suffering from the same concerns as poor Mr. O’Really. Over the last two years it seems like every organisation has been enthusiastically walking down the aisle with whichever cloud vendor had the best deal at the time.

In this ‘heartache column’, I want to look at the inhibitors of cloud adoption and which factors are driving the fear of cloud lock-in. Then talk through the two crucial steps users can take to get the best of both worlds – the business velocity provided by the cloud, without the risks of locking themselves into a specific vendor.

Our own Cloud Brief research has found 82% of respondents are strategically using or evaluating the cloud today. So they should, cloud computing is helping business build better services, quicker and at a lower cost. Better, quicker, cheaper. It’s what we’re all looking for in a relationship with the vendors we love the most.

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The number one driver for cloud adoption is agility – the need to rollout new applications faster. This was reinforced at a recent meeting I had in London with developers from a leading global financial institution. They complained it takes three months for hardware supporting a new project to be procured, installed, racked, and stacked. Clearly unacceptable in today’s hyper-competitive market governed by agile development, continuous integration, and elastic scaling.

The cloud is providing serious value, but hitching your wagon to one provider could present serious competitive disadvantage. Another cloud vendor could make all sorts of changes to become more appealing. New services, features or region availability are all changes that could give your competitors an advantage.

So what form does that lock-in take? It’s not about the hardware, operating systems and software of the past, instead it’s about APIs, services and data. The underlying infrastructure made up by compute, storage and networking are largely a commodity and can be exchanged between cloud providers. But as we move up the infrastructure stack, the APIs and data these services exchange become less portable.

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There are a number of potential friction points: security, management, continuous integration pipelines and container orchestration.

 



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